Meridian Township is waiving building permit fees

The Red Cedar flooded over 300 homes, said the City of Lansing, and the damage caused by the flood demands reconstruction. On Feb. 22 the Red Cedar River flooded as rain poured down for multiple days, and large amounts of snow melted into the river. The precipitation and snowmelt caused over 10 inches of flooding in neighboring areas of the river. To help residents, the Meridian Township board has elected to waive the building permit fees for homes largely affected by flood damage.

War on opioids affects local community

The opioid crisis has impacted communities across the nation, and Lansing is no exception. Walnut Neighborhood, located between Old Town and downtown Lansing, is currently struggling with an incoming drug rehabilitation facility proposed in their community. With a lot of turn-of-the-century homes, this neighborhood was part of the original plat of designed homes for Lansing. This is also where the former Michigan School for the Blind campus is located. A house on that land, known as the Superintendent’s house, is where the proposed drug rehabilitation facility is going to be.

New Banners for Williamston

 

Williamston has decided to revamp its obsolete city banners and introduce bright new ones to the downtown area. “Yes, the current banner inventory of banners that we have for the city are worn and outdated,” said Tammy Gilroy, Williamston mayor. “The new design will be more in line with our city’s current branding and identity moving forward.”

At the Williamston City Council meeting March 26, pictures of the banners were shown and were predicted to go up in the summer. The city clerk Holly Thompson has been overseeing the banner project and has worked with the designer over the past couple months. “She[Thompson] took the lead on the banner project,” said Rachel Piner city treasurer.

New construction in downtown East Lansing to provide housing, parking and retail for residents

The Center City District redevelopment project has residents hopeful for positive changes in downtown East Lansing. According to the City of East Lansing website, the City Center District is a mixed-use redevelopment project involving Albert and Grand River avenues. Planning & Zoning Administrator David Haywood said the project will include two buildings with housing, retail, a parking structure and infrastructure improvements. “There are two buildings, one on Grand River and one on Albert,” said Haywood. “The Grand River building is 12 stories.

Williamston’s 304 River Edge Lofts has 17 apartments ready for lease

It’s not hard to find 304 River Edge Lofts while strolling through downtown Williamston. The four-story brick building stands out in the mix of old-fashioned buildings because of its newness and modern aesthetic. The apartment complex was built last summer and opened in October 2017. With 30 apartments, 17 are sitting empty. With one-bedroom floor plans for $1,250 a month and two-bedroom floor plans for $1,510 a month, property manager Katelyn Franklin said this has some residents concerned.

East Lansing, neighboring cities, partner with CATA to re-develop parts of downtowns

In downtown East Lansing, a major land redevelopment project is in the works that will affect land and street regulation. This project is known as Shaping the Avenue, and is a new initiative funded by the Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA) that will focus on analyzing and evolving how land is used in Lansing, East Lansing, Lansing Township, and Meridian Township, particularly on Grand River Avenue and Michigan Avenue. One important aspect of this project will be the use of form-based codes that will help dictate how buildings, walkways and roads will look in the future. “(This project) will address transit-oriented development, zoning ordinances, how buildings and streets would look, and really kind of more consistently, you’ll see development more consistently be implemented along the corridor,” said Laurie Robison, the director of marketing for CATA. Robison also explained the role that CATA is playing in this project.

Downtown Mason continues to grow. Parking spaces? Not so much

Parking in downtown Mason can be a struggle at times, especially in the summer with festivals the city holds. But mayor of Mason Russell Whipple said, “The best problem you can have is not enough parking.” The downtown square has been a top attraction for Mason residents and as the city continues to grow, more people will be making their way downtown. Mason resident Roger Arend said, “It’s busier than it was 50 years ago … more houses, more people, the streets are the same length, parks the same amount of cars with twice as many people so what’re you gonna do.”

Rental housing in East Lansing serving unique market

East Lansing has a unique set of needs to meet when it comes to rental housing. The city provides and regulates rental housing units that accommodate a diverse renter base ranging from local college students to long-term residents. While the level of renter-occupied housing units in adjacent cities like Lansing and Mason falls below 50 percent, rental housing comprises 66.5 percent of the total housing units in East Lansing, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. “When you look at East Lansing and compare it to other cities, even other cities in our region, the proximity to the university really plays a major role in what type of housing can be developed here and what type of housing can be successful here in terms of the underlying economics,” said Thomas Fehrenbach, community and economic development administrator for East Lansing. Fehrenbach said that analyzing the local rental market requires taking into account the circumstances that are specific to East Lansing.